South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 2nd day February 21, 2014

Australia doze at wrong moment

The Test was moving at a slow pace on a sluggish pitch while South Africa batted and they may have lulled Australia into a distracted mindset which proved costly late in the day
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#politeenquiries: Can any bowler in the world stop AB?

Unable to find his permission slip to join the rest of Springfield Elementary on their afternoon trip to the chocolate factory, Bart Simpson is consigned to the numbing task of licking envelopes in the office of Principal Skinner. As he does so, the wall clock ticks slowly and tortuously towards 3pm and the end of the school day. Losing momentum with every stroke, it eventually begins to tick backwards.

Something of Bart's interminable wait ensnared Australia on the second day in Port Elizabeth, as they were frustrated and ultimately brought to heel by a South African side well attuned to playing Test matches at the kind of deliberate pace unfamiliar to, and unloved by, the touring captain Michael Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann. Graeme Smith's men cannot afford to lose this Test, and on a pitch where application and determination can be enough to keep out most kinds of bowling, they pushed doggedly towards a position from where it was difficult to do so. Then, ball in hand, they swarmed over an opposition that chose precisely the wrong moment for a seaside siesta.

Australia did not do a whole lot wrong in the field, erring slightly in places but never transgressing so badly as to drop a catch or make a poor misfield. But they were slowly, gradually lulled into a sense that the game was going nowhere - never more so than when JP Duminy's batting partners Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell soaked up 74 balls between them for 16 runs after lunch - and when asked to bat for 25 overs before the close showed the kind of inattention that can cost a Test match. Suddenly the clock ticking backwards was free-wheeling forward on South Africa's schedule.

What followed was a chastening reminder of how the Australian top order is still worryingly erratic despite the team's recent success

The first day had been a good one for the tourists, given the minimal life to be found in the pitch. Central to their corralling of South Africa had been the harvesting of early wickets with the new ball, thanks to an excellent first spell by Ryan Harris and a decent one from Mitchell Johnson. Harris took the first over from the Park Drive End and Johnson followed up, downwind, from the Duck Pond End. So comfortable they had seemed at these ends that it was odd to see Harris and Johnson commence from opposite directions with the second new ball, particularly as the breeze had not shifted.

It might have been a minor issue, but the essential truth of the morning was that the ball did not swing, and neither Harris nor Johnson overly troubled Duminy or AB de Villiers. Given the narrow window for the ball to offer some assistance and the evidence of the first day, this was the sort of oversight Australia have seldom made in recent times under the guidance of Lehmann and the pace bowling coach Craig McDermott.

For the remainder of the innings there was little either coach could do, apart from encourage their men to keep things tight and be patient. If Duminy and de Villiers declined to push the game forward at any sort of proactive rate, they were also averse to making mistakes. Both strolled to centuries, while Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell were less concerned with batting than occupation. These passages were torpid, straining the endurance of Australia's batsmen, who ultimately walked out to bat after tea with senses just slightly deadened by the experience of their longest stint in the field since Hyderabad in March 2013.

What followed was a chastening reminder of how the Australian top order is still worryingly erratic despite the team's recent success. Chris Rogers has not enjoyed South Africa to date, and was close to lbw against Dale Steyn before falling in the same manner to Philander - he would not have missed either ball during the rich vein of form he found late in the Ashes series. A short-term fix for those contests against England, Rogers is now under pressure for his place, particularly as Shane Watson regathers fitness.

Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh fell to a high quality first over from Parnell, nibbling the ball around on his home pitch and coaxing a pair of edges from batsmen not yet set. Neither Doolan nor Marsh could be heckled too harshly for this, given their sturdy efforts at Centurion. But nonetheless it was a circumstance in which they needed to be fully alert, and in Marsh's case his edge ran from a bat angled in the manner of his India horrors rather than straight as it had been last week.

Briefly, Clarke and David Warner countered, their aggression consistent with that of Brad Haddin and Steve Smith at critical moments against England. But they were not in control of proceedings, as Morne Morkel in particular extracted previously unseen life from the pitch, using every inch of his gargantuan frame and high arm action. When the wicket fell it was not to be Morkel, who was most unlucky to have Warner dropped by de Villiers of all people, a swift delivery not settling into the gloves. Instead Philander celebrated Clarke's waft to short cover, the captain defeated not by an excess of pace but a lack of it.

Most troubling of all for Australia is the fact that Clarke is now in the midst of something like a batting slump, having gone eight innings since he last reached 25 - his first innings century at Adelaide Oval. In statistical terms it is a streak unmatched in his career, though he did also struggle mightily in 2010-11, immediately before taking over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting.

While winning arrived so handsomely, Clarke's thin run of scores looked as much a blessing as a curse, showing that Australia were not entirely reliant on his batting. Now however it does become a matter for some concern, against opponents glimpsing a way back into a series that looked beyond them only days ago. Without a significant rearguard over the next three days, it will be Australia stuck in the principal's office, wondering how they came to be gazing helplessly at the slow moving clock of the world's best team instead of enjoying the sweet tastes of a winning African excursion.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY KabsCricki on | February 24, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Beertjie, you misunderstand me. The Aussie fans were claiming S.A were slow and boring in the first innings but they were just making sure they got a total that put them in the driving seat. This was smart as they know Aus would come out and go for it. Its how they play and they would have wanted to knock of as many runs as possible to allow for a victory. By no means do I say S.A didn't outplay them; outsmarting is a facet of outplaying. As I said, the no.1 pace attack in the world cannot be taken lightly and S.A drew Australia into a situation where they had to go for runs and S.A got the 20 wickets and won the game with a day to spare when many were whining we were playing in a way that would only produce draw. Australia were never gonna come in and block and graft their way to a draw from day 2.

    An end to the Simpsons analogy by Daniel Brettig: As Bart comes out of the classroom, Nelson points at him and goes, "Haaaa haaaa." All S.A fans have done the same to Australia......

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | February 23, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - Dude, seriously. Stop posting. You have to take conditions and the opposition into account. Oz were bowling well and quick runs were difficult. SA didn't try to force a situation that wasn't possible. If they had they would've gotten a smaller total. Just look how the Test ended up. Plenty of time. 5 days is very long. Please get over this idea that Oz play the game in some "special" way. You either play good cricket or you don't. There is no point in players throwing their wickets away trying to play a way that they are not comfortable doing.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | February 23, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    I am getting mightily sick of this idea that a game must at all times be pushed forward. SA batted "slowly" in the 1st innings because Oz were bowling decently and the pitch was difficult. In some circumstances if you force the pace you get out. And then the credit goes to the bowlers for creating pressure and the batsmen are told they have no patience. Yet time after time you will see people on here carrying on about how SA are too slow. Too slow is seldom a problem in Test cricket. Not respecting the opposition (because they are allowed to play well you know), not analyzing the conditions and not playing cricket according is a big problem always.

  • POSTED BY sanhan on | February 23, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    @Boodha - This pitch showed the distinct difference between these two teams in this test. No pitch help, thus you have to rely on your own sources. Which of the two bowling units would you pick to win on a so-called 'unresponsive' pitch.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | February 23, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    No @KabsCricki on (February 22, 2014, 9:14 GMT), "Aus. tried to hit quick runs to attempt to knock off the 420 S.A posted but you can't do so against a class pace attack. Final analysis: S.A outsmarted Aus." No outsmarting here. Leading 1-0 you don't try "to hit quick runs". You get your head down and graft an innings which no one did. This shows alarming immaturity in the mind-set of the Aus. batsmen, but it would be stretching things to speak of trying to knock off the 420. What would be the point of that? No by going hard at the Aussies the Saffers ruffled their feathers thus showing their mental fragility. Guess we'll be able to judge their progress on this front soon enough inn the second innings.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 22, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Interesting how many people call the Proteas as playing negative cricket. Does negative cricket put 423 on the board and bowl out your opponents for under 250? Please man. All out attack can sometimes leave the space for intellegence vacant. Smith might be struggling with bat but his experience in how to win is showing. Australia spend -150 overs fielding in the 1st innings, South Africa spent 57overs. Australia are back fielding with 15 odd overs in already with SA leading by 237 on Day 3. Its a test on the fitness of all those fielding. A stratergy Smith has used often to set up a Series decider.

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | February 22, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Barring a miracle, this test is gone. Siddle was wicketless in the first innings when we needed just one more wicket on the first day to be into the tail. He is a non-penetrative bowler and is a liability in this side.

    Our batting is notably fickle but we don't have anything to replace them with. No choice. This is not the case with our bowling. Clearly as day, Siddle should never have played this series and even those who have protected him must now be running out of patience. You can't keep picking a bloke who is continually third-best seamer when there are proven guns sitting on the bench. Stick-man Lyon proved he can do the job of Siddle now. Give him a chance to prove it. Siddle must go.

  • POSTED BY DragonCricketer on | February 22, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    Lyons good for a ton. His last 6 or 7 innings have resulted in centuries cut short due to lack of batting partners.

  • POSTED BY fair_paly_1 on | February 22, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    Australia dozed? But Wastson wasn't even playing?

  • POSTED BY KabsCricki on | February 22, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    Without disrespect I say the writer of this article is a little blinded by, is it, a sniff of bias? Australia came out to score quickly and look where they stand now. S.A took the time and patience to not only build a big first innings score but also to frustrate the Aussies. I don't think Mitchell Johnson is only a good bowler on certain pitches, that takes away from the man. This was just a very measured and focused performance from S.A. Now the S.A pace attack is no.1 but the Aus batting lineup isn't, so this is the reason for the swift dismissal of 6 wickets of 120 odd. Also , Aus tried to hit quick runs to attempt to knock off the 420 S.A posted but you can't do so against a class pace attack. Final analysis: S.A outsmarted Aus.

  • POSTED BY KabsCricki on | February 24, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Beertjie, you misunderstand me. The Aussie fans were claiming S.A were slow and boring in the first innings but they were just making sure they got a total that put them in the driving seat. This was smart as they know Aus would come out and go for it. Its how they play and they would have wanted to knock of as many runs as possible to allow for a victory. By no means do I say S.A didn't outplay them; outsmarting is a facet of outplaying. As I said, the no.1 pace attack in the world cannot be taken lightly and S.A drew Australia into a situation where they had to go for runs and S.A got the 20 wickets and won the game with a day to spare when many were whining we were playing in a way that would only produce draw. Australia were never gonna come in and block and graft their way to a draw from day 2.

    An end to the Simpsons analogy by Daniel Brettig: As Bart comes out of the classroom, Nelson points at him and goes, "Haaaa haaaa." All S.A fans have done the same to Australia......

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | February 23, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha - Dude, seriously. Stop posting. You have to take conditions and the opposition into account. Oz were bowling well and quick runs were difficult. SA didn't try to force a situation that wasn't possible. If they had they would've gotten a smaller total. Just look how the Test ended up. Plenty of time. 5 days is very long. Please get over this idea that Oz play the game in some "special" way. You either play good cricket or you don't. There is no point in players throwing their wickets away trying to play a way that they are not comfortable doing.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | February 23, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    I am getting mightily sick of this idea that a game must at all times be pushed forward. SA batted "slowly" in the 1st innings because Oz were bowling decently and the pitch was difficult. In some circumstances if you force the pace you get out. And then the credit goes to the bowlers for creating pressure and the batsmen are told they have no patience. Yet time after time you will see people on here carrying on about how SA are too slow. Too slow is seldom a problem in Test cricket. Not respecting the opposition (because they are allowed to play well you know), not analyzing the conditions and not playing cricket according is a big problem always.

  • POSTED BY sanhan on | February 23, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    @Boodha - This pitch showed the distinct difference between these two teams in this test. No pitch help, thus you have to rely on your own sources. Which of the two bowling units would you pick to win on a so-called 'unresponsive' pitch.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | February 23, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    No @KabsCricki on (February 22, 2014, 9:14 GMT), "Aus. tried to hit quick runs to attempt to knock off the 420 S.A posted but you can't do so against a class pace attack. Final analysis: S.A outsmarted Aus." No outsmarting here. Leading 1-0 you don't try "to hit quick runs". You get your head down and graft an innings which no one did. This shows alarming immaturity in the mind-set of the Aus. batsmen, but it would be stretching things to speak of trying to knock off the 420. What would be the point of that? No by going hard at the Aussies the Saffers ruffled their feathers thus showing their mental fragility. Guess we'll be able to judge their progress on this front soon enough inn the second innings.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | February 22, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    Interesting how many people call the Proteas as playing negative cricket. Does negative cricket put 423 on the board and bowl out your opponents for under 250? Please man. All out attack can sometimes leave the space for intellegence vacant. Smith might be struggling with bat but his experience in how to win is showing. Australia spend -150 overs fielding in the 1st innings, South Africa spent 57overs. Australia are back fielding with 15 odd overs in already with SA leading by 237 on Day 3. Its a test on the fitness of all those fielding. A stratergy Smith has used often to set up a Series decider.

  • POSTED BY Jagger on | February 22, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Barring a miracle, this test is gone. Siddle was wicketless in the first innings when we needed just one more wicket on the first day to be into the tail. He is a non-penetrative bowler and is a liability in this side.

    Our batting is notably fickle but we don't have anything to replace them with. No choice. This is not the case with our bowling. Clearly as day, Siddle should never have played this series and even those who have protected him must now be running out of patience. You can't keep picking a bloke who is continually third-best seamer when there are proven guns sitting on the bench. Stick-man Lyon proved he can do the job of Siddle now. Give him a chance to prove it. Siddle must go.

  • POSTED BY DragonCricketer on | February 22, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    Lyons good for a ton. His last 6 or 7 innings have resulted in centuries cut short due to lack of batting partners.

  • POSTED BY fair_paly_1 on | February 22, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    Australia dozed? But Wastson wasn't even playing?

  • POSTED BY KabsCricki on | February 22, 2014, 9:14 GMT

    Without disrespect I say the writer of this article is a little blinded by, is it, a sniff of bias? Australia came out to score quickly and look where they stand now. S.A took the time and patience to not only build a big first innings score but also to frustrate the Aussies. I don't think Mitchell Johnson is only a good bowler on certain pitches, that takes away from the man. This was just a very measured and focused performance from S.A. Now the S.A pace attack is no.1 but the Aus batting lineup isn't, so this is the reason for the swift dismissal of 6 wickets of 120 odd. Also , Aus tried to hit quick runs to attempt to knock off the 420 S.A posted but you can't do so against a class pace attack. Final analysis: S.A outsmarted Aus.

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | February 22, 2014, 8:11 GMT

    It also has to be said that plain bad luck has made a huge difference. A side batting 11 hours and no edge carrying to the slips or keeper is unheard of. Then Parnell got two in two balls. Sorry, but that is just luck as nobody can control how far a snick carries. Australia's bowlers were also very lively for the first hour or two, in case everybody forgot. But after that SA just survived via defensive, risk-free cricket. But that is not how Australia plays the game. As Clarke is fond of saying, to win you have to risk losing. Tat isn't "to win you have to nearly lose." Yes, sometimes the price is a Los. But as long as the wins keep coming and in spectacular fashion, we shouldn't be too worried by the odd loss - especially when the opposition has to radically change playing conditions to be competitive.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | February 22, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    @Peter James Warrington on (February 22, 2014, 1:02 GMT): "Australia's attack was unbalanced. we needed... a second spinner, but none was on tour." Who do you suggest? I'm for Steve O'Keefe for the UAE and volunteered this to Invers. Hope there's no personal agenda keeping him out of consideration.

  • POSTED BY DragonCricketer on | February 22, 2014, 6:00 GMT

    Lyons good for a ton. His last 6 or 7 innings have resulted in centuries cut short due to lack of batting partners.

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | February 22, 2014, 3:30 GMT

    Harris has been a little disappointing this tour. Although the Aussies were tight there wasn't a lot of venom. Lyon bowled fairly well and is improving but he is still not world class. Great bowling by SA, especially Morkel and Parnell for getting bounce when we thought there wasn't. Maybe the level of bounce they extract is perfect for them as their bouncers force the batsman to play the ball, where's in the first test many of Morkel's bouncers went harmlessly over the batman. The Aussies now have to dig in and hope to get near 300.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | February 22, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    We overreacted after the first test, now people are overreacting after 2 days of the second. Both AUS and SA would do well to remember who is 1- up in this series. I feel that our 'attack at all costs' attitude leaves us vulnerable in situations like these. Maybe grinding them out would be the better option on this occasion. Rogers is skating on thin ice, last chance saloon for him i reckon.

    If we bat out most of today, it's tough for the Saffas to win i reckon. If we can get to 100 or even 150 within reach of their total, it's all good.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | February 22, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    @Rajat Kumar Das, "One can also argue that Mitch floored them in the 1st test because the South Africans had not adequately prepared."

    Yes, one can argue that but it really wouldn't be much of an argument considering the difference between the pitches. A better argument was that their batters, apart from ABdV are not really good enough to face a serious pace attack on a fast bouncy wicket. And it would not be the first time.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | February 22, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    The Centurion match was too swift to be knocked from it's inevitable momentum. This match however is progressing at a more normal pace which allows the absolutely certain multiple twists and turns that define SA vs Aus matches, to occur. Thus we have the first twist, and there will be more than one more before this winds to a close. SA must win this match (a draw is not sufficient) or be consigned to another failure at home. A South African win would set the series up nicely for a showdown at Cape Town.

  • POSTED BY andy2142 on | February 22, 2014, 2:11 GMT

    It's going to be a fascinating test to watch. South Africa's recent history of coming back strongly in the second test of the series will ensure that this will be an exciting contest. I just wish the Cricket boards of both countries had the sense of anticipation and scheduled a 5 match test series. It's rather exciting to watch this series than the one sided Ashes.

  • POSTED BY lillee4PM on | February 22, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    No surprises here. SA are doing what they always do when they get punched, they fight back. This is the most pressure the Aus team has been under for the last six tests and it will be interesting to see how they respond. With Warner still there, and Haddin and Smith to come, a good counter-attack will put the Safas back in their box! The Aus selectors bowed to sentiment before the series began and chose Rogers, and only took Hughes when it seemed Marsh was out injured. They had the opportunity to play Hughes with Warner for this test but they stuffed up again. I only hope PH gets his chance for the third test and cashes in. Marsh was always going to be a gamble and it paid off at Centurion but we all know he can run hot or cold. Win, loose or draw at PE, the worst thing that we could do for the third match is go back to the Watson "solution." This is shaping up to be a great contest and I'm still backing the Aussies to win the series.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2014, 1:02 GMT

    Australia's attack was unbalanced. we needed Siddle out for a faster quick (Pattinson) or a second spinner, but none was on tour.

    People had etched Marsh and Doolan into the team forever on the face of one innings each. maybe a longer peiod of analysis is needed. Watson will come in next test for sure now, it's just a matter of who of Rogers, Doolan, Marsh or Clarke ("sore back") misses out. if we pull off a draw, we might go defensive and drop Siddle for Watson, but that would be tres risque.

  • POSTED BY on | February 21, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    Wow...Australia were distracted, really? If they had any misplaced notion, they were shown what it is like to face the world's no. 1 pace battery in their own backyard. One can also argue that Mitch floored them in the 1st test because the South Africans had not adequately prepared. Once they had a good look at him, the Mitch threat disappeared in the 2nd test. One has to remember that Australia as a test team are a distant no. 3 to South Africa, and it will eventually show in this series.

  • POSTED BY on | February 21, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    Hmmm, I'd have to say that Australia look likely to lose it is pretty strong and, imo, out there. Six wickets for around 100 runs, with two specialist bats to come and one set to avoid the follow-on. It isn't just a case of being not a big ask, but it would need a miraculously good performance from SA - once the follow-on is gone SA will have minimal hope of securing a win.

  • POSTED BY swauzzie on | February 21, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    I kinda hope that Australia give the Saffers a taste of theirf own medicine. Go out there. Score at 2 runs an over. Just occupy the crease. Don't give them a wiff. Make them bowl for 200 overs. Bore the absolute bla bla bla out of the fans at the ground & on the tv. Grind it out - show them that if they want to WIN the series. That's what they're going to have to do - WIN it! Not wait for AUS to lose it!

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | February 21, 2014, 18:19 GMT

    Michael Clarke has a particularly poor record in South Africa,though he did play a good innings at Newlands last time.David Warner is possibly the luckiest cricketer in the world!

  • POSTED BY UncleJack on | February 21, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    I think the difference has been our bowling. Great quality and no let-up... they have demolished many teams and even had Aus all out for 47 when all the gears click. One concern though is the pace of Dale Steyn. I recall Allan Donald losing his pace once he was into his 30's.... hoping that the same has not happened to Dale.

  • POSTED BY Zeshan547 on | February 21, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    What thrill, what drama, breath-taking stuff, pace, aggression, swagger, bravado, crazy stuff, all in one session, on a gloomy day, which threatened to be one of most boring days of test cricket. Now doesn't matter who wins, it's test cricket at it's best, long may live test cricket, the real cricket.., and believe me or not this test will be a roller coaster ride, till the end. So just fasten your seat belts and get ready for something very special. It isn't for faint hearted.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | February 21, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    Wow, what a grudging article which blames the Aussies for 'losing concentration' rather than properly acknowledging SA's efforts. Disappointing, given that SA fans gave Aus so much credit after the first test.

    PE is not my favourite pitch as it's always slow. And even AB struggled to score quickly with defensive bowling, fields and the ball not coming on. But the efforts of the SA bowlers in the third session were superb. Morkel reaching 152kph and Parnell at 147kph got surprising life out of it. And weren't Aus fans saying that Johnson would also destroy SA on a flat track as he did to England?

    PS: I guess from now on Aus fans will boo Lyon for not walking, like they did to Broad?

  • POSTED BY on | February 21, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    True words indeed. You'd have to point to experience, or the lack thereof rather, as the main reason for such drop in concentration. Adaptability is another, right now Warner needs to show some of it, whilst he is at his best when he attacks, there are many places around the world where the ploy of blindly going after everything is just not the way to go. The sooner the top 6 learns lessons on foreign soil the better for them.

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  • POSTED BY on | February 21, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    True words indeed. You'd have to point to experience, or the lack thereof rather, as the main reason for such drop in concentration. Adaptability is another, right now Warner needs to show some of it, whilst he is at his best when he attacks, there are many places around the world where the ploy of blindly going after everything is just not the way to go. The sooner the top 6 learns lessons on foreign soil the better for them.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | February 21, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    Wow, what a grudging article which blames the Aussies for 'losing concentration' rather than properly acknowledging SA's efforts. Disappointing, given that SA fans gave Aus so much credit after the first test.

    PE is not my favourite pitch as it's always slow. And even AB struggled to score quickly with defensive bowling, fields and the ball not coming on. But the efforts of the SA bowlers in the third session were superb. Morkel reaching 152kph and Parnell at 147kph got surprising life out of it. And weren't Aus fans saying that Johnson would also destroy SA on a flat track as he did to England?

    PS: I guess from now on Aus fans will boo Lyon for not walking, like they did to Broad?

  • POSTED BY Zeshan547 on | February 21, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    What thrill, what drama, breath-taking stuff, pace, aggression, swagger, bravado, crazy stuff, all in one session, on a gloomy day, which threatened to be one of most boring days of test cricket. Now doesn't matter who wins, it's test cricket at it's best, long may live test cricket, the real cricket.., and believe me or not this test will be a roller coaster ride, till the end. So just fasten your seat belts and get ready for something very special. It isn't for faint hearted.

  • POSTED BY UncleJack on | February 21, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    I think the difference has been our bowling. Great quality and no let-up... they have demolished many teams and even had Aus all out for 47 when all the gears click. One concern though is the pace of Dale Steyn. I recall Allan Donald losing his pace once he was into his 30's.... hoping that the same has not happened to Dale.

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | February 21, 2014, 18:19 GMT

    Michael Clarke has a particularly poor record in South Africa,though he did play a good innings at Newlands last time.David Warner is possibly the luckiest cricketer in the world!

  • POSTED BY swauzzie on | February 21, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    I kinda hope that Australia give the Saffers a taste of theirf own medicine. Go out there. Score at 2 runs an over. Just occupy the crease. Don't give them a wiff. Make them bowl for 200 overs. Bore the absolute bla bla bla out of the fans at the ground & on the tv. Grind it out - show them that if they want to WIN the series. That's what they're going to have to do - WIN it! Not wait for AUS to lose it!

  • POSTED BY on | February 21, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    Hmmm, I'd have to say that Australia look likely to lose it is pretty strong and, imo, out there. Six wickets for around 100 runs, with two specialist bats to come and one set to avoid the follow-on. It isn't just a case of being not a big ask, but it would need a miraculously good performance from SA - once the follow-on is gone SA will have minimal hope of securing a win.

  • POSTED BY on | February 21, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    Wow...Australia were distracted, really? If they had any misplaced notion, they were shown what it is like to face the world's no. 1 pace battery in their own backyard. One can also argue that Mitch floored them in the 1st test because the South Africans had not adequately prepared. Once they had a good look at him, the Mitch threat disappeared in the 2nd test. One has to remember that Australia as a test team are a distant no. 3 to South Africa, and it will eventually show in this series.

  • POSTED BY on | February 22, 2014, 1:02 GMT

    Australia's attack was unbalanced. we needed Siddle out for a faster quick (Pattinson) or a second spinner, but none was on tour.

    People had etched Marsh and Doolan into the team forever on the face of one innings each. maybe a longer peiod of analysis is needed. Watson will come in next test for sure now, it's just a matter of who of Rogers, Doolan, Marsh or Clarke ("sore back") misses out. if we pull off a draw, we might go defensive and drop Siddle for Watson, but that would be tres risque.

  • POSTED BY lillee4PM on | February 22, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    No surprises here. SA are doing what they always do when they get punched, they fight back. This is the most pressure the Aus team has been under for the last six tests and it will be interesting to see how they respond. With Warner still there, and Haddin and Smith to come, a good counter-attack will put the Safas back in their box! The Aus selectors bowed to sentiment before the series began and chose Rogers, and only took Hughes when it seemed Marsh was out injured. They had the opportunity to play Hughes with Warner for this test but they stuffed up again. I only hope PH gets his chance for the third test and cashes in. Marsh was always going to be a gamble and it paid off at Centurion but we all know he can run hot or cold. Win, loose or draw at PE, the worst thing that we could do for the third match is go back to the Watson "solution." This is shaping up to be a great contest and I'm still backing the Aussies to win the series.